This southern chocolate chess pie is an authentic southern dessert. Rich and creamy are the best two words to describe this classic chess pie from an old family recipe.
If you have never eaten a slice of chocolate chess pie, then making this recipe is a must! Its rich chocolate flavor is pure bliss! This recipe could not be any easier - just mix the ingredients with a whisk and pour into a store-bought crust.
Why This Recipe Works
This is the best pie recipe with simple ingredients. One thing that makes this an easy dessert recipe is that you will use a pre-made pie crust. Hooray!
Before pouring all of the ingredients into the pie crust, I recommend "blind baking" the crust. Simply means to prick the raw crust a few times with a fork and pre-bake the pie crust for 5 minutes. I do this because the filling is very "liquidy" and pre-baking the crust seems to help the bottom of the crust stay firm and not get soggy.
Honestly, I've tried to make a homemade pie crust and it never turns out as good or as pretty as the pre-made so I'm sticking with what I know works best for me. If you have the talent to make your own pie crust, I envy you 🙂
Why You'll Love This Pie
Words can not describe how delicious this chocolate pie is. After baking, the rich creamy chocolate pie filling has a slightly crisp top. Don't ask me how or why the top of this pie is crispy, thin and crunchy like candy, because I don't know why (maybe it's the butter and sugar combo). All I know is this pie turns out great and is always a huge hit.
There is no cornstarch or flour added to the pie filling. You may have seen other chess pie recipes that call for cornstarch or flour, but this recipe simply does not require either of them.
You may wonder if this recipe came from my grandmother but actually, it came from my grandmother's (we called her Mimi) sister (Alice Ruth). I was very pleased to find this old family recipe. Family recipes are sentimental, special treasures. Every time I look at an old, handwritten recipe card, I vividly remember who that recipe came from and all the wonderful memories.
This recipe uses evaporated milk. I talked about how great this stuff is on a previous recipe post: Family Favorite Stuffed French Bread. It really does make a HUGE difference in the creaminess and richness of a recipe. If for some reason, you can't find evaporated milk, use whole milk instead.
You can sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top of the pie AFTER it has completely cooled; if not completely cooled, the powdered sugar will absorb into the warm pie. Top with whipped cream or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or both like we do, lol).
What Goes Into this Recipe
(be sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card for more detailed and helpful information)
- Unbaked Pie Shell - deep dish crust is recommended to prevent spillage. You can use a deep-dish graham cracker crust instead; however, a regular pie crust is more traditional.
- Cocoa powder - use unsweetened cocoa powder
- Sugar - granulated white sugar
- Evaporated Milk - adds to the rich flavor and creamy texture
- Vanilla Extract - use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor
- Eggs - it's best to use room temperature eggs
- Butter - use salted or unsalted
- Pinch of Salt
Kitchen Tools Needed
Seasoned cooks pretty much know which kitchen tools they'll need for this pie, but if you're someone just starting out, I got ya covered! I want you to have the best experience possible.
Deep dish pie plate (or just use the aluminum pan the crust already comes in)
Large mixing bowl
How to Make Chocolate Chess Pie
(1) Preheat oven to 350F. Prick the pie shell a few times with a fork and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
(2) Add remaining ingredients into a mixing bowl.
(3) Using a wire whisk, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour into pie shell.
(4) Bake for 35-40 minutes (I've had people tell me they've baked the pie for up to 50 minutes, so please check the pie often. If the crust starts to get too brown before the pie is done, you can remove the pie from the oven and cover the edges of the crust with foil; then return pie to oven to finish baking.
Alternatively, before you begin your baking project, you could purchase a pie crust protector shield like this one from Mrs. Anderson's Baking. Available now on Amazon.
Trust me, this pie is spectacular all by itself. But if you prefer to "dress it up" I suggest topping it with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream; you've got yourself a winning dessert each and every time. Note: wait for the pie to completely cool before adding powdered sugar because the powdered sugar will get gummy on top of a hot pie.
- Before baking, place the unfilled pie crust on a cookie sheet. Then pour the ingredients into the pie. This makes it easier to get the pie in and out of the oven without spilling any of the filling.
- Try serving with some fresh strawberries or blueberries, as well. This pie is awesome when served with a glass of ice-cold milk!
- Serve with a dollop of peanut butter on top or on the side. This tip brought to you by my chocolate-peanut-butter-combination-loving husband!
- After the pie has cooled, sprinkle some sea on top for that sweet-salty combo.
Frequently Asked Questions
To keep your chess pie from separating, just make sure the butter is softened, not melted when you make the pie. You can soften the butter in the microwave but be careful not to get it so hot that it melts.
I would say yes because I think it tastes better cold and because of the dairy ingredients although it's cooked. Store covered in the refrigerator and enjoy for up to 2 days. When you plan to serve it, you can take it out of the refrigerator and place it on the counter to come to room temperature if you prefer.
You can definitely freeze this pie if you want to make it in advance. Bake it as directed and let it cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil. The day before you plan to serve it, remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw.
More Amazing Pie Recipes
How to Transport a Pie
So now that you've made this delicious pie, what is the best way to transport it? I recently discovered a plastic carrier that's perfect for transporting pies, muffins, and cupcakes. It's the Southern Homewares 3-in-1 Plastic Holder Container. It offers easy-grip handles, a snap-tight lid, and it's made out of durable plastic. Available now on Amazon!
If you tried this chess pie, please rate and review it below so I know how it turned out. If you’d like more recipe inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, you can sign up for my email newsletter below.
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This recipe was originally published in 2018 and was updated in 2021.
Easy Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
- deep dish pie plate
- large mixing bowl
- measuring cup(s)
- measuring spoons
- 1 Unbaked pie shell (recommend deep dish)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1-⅓ cups sugar
- 5 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened (½ stick)
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350. Prick the pie shell a few times with a fork and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Add remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl.
- Use a wire whisk to mix ingredients. Whisk for about 2 minutes.
- Place the pie shell onto a cookie sheet (this helps to prevent spillage and also helps with handling a pie in and out of the oven). Pour filling into pie shell. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set and not jiggly. SEE NOTE BELOW!!